Latest Blog Posts

by Mattie Brice

1 Nov 2011


Which game was the biggest disappointment this year? Many gamers (me included) would answer with Dragon Age II by BioWare. With recycled environments, combat void of tactics, and a meaningless item system, BioWare seemed to do quick work of unraveling the success of Dragon Age: Origins. After completing the game, I read some criticism that changed my mind. So much, in fact, that I count Dragon Age II as not only superior to its predecessor but one of the best games that I’ve ever played. This turn of my dissatisfaction into fervency led me to reflect on how game criticism enables such changes in perspective.

In “Games Aren’t Clocks,” Michael Abbott challenges the preoccupation that critics have with judging a game’s value mostly around its gameplay (“Games Aren’t Clocks”, The Brainy Gamer, 11 September 2011). Abbott’s take on the issue implies that gamers will put up with lackluster results in something like narrative as long as the gameplay is good enough, but not the other way around. This doesn’t excuse Dragon Age II its many negatives, which have been fleshed out by many critics. However, the complaints focus on gameplay and sre spare in commenting on a character drama rarely seen in games. Good writing is rare to come across in gaming, and Dragon Age II engages with the conversation on how to imbue a game with meaning through its narrative elements.

by G. Christopher Williams

31 Oct 2011


With the holiday game season upon us, the Moving Pixels blog and podcast crew have turned their atention to some of the biggest releases of the year.  The ostensible “final chapter” of the Gears of War saga is, of course, one of these most anticipated of titles.

Given Gears importance in this console generation, as one of the titles associated with the Xbox 360’s early days, the crew discusses how the trilogy has been brought to an end, its approach to multiplayer play, and speculates a bit on where this franchise may be headed in the future.

by Nick Dinicola

28 Oct 2011


Betas have become a popular marketing tool in recent years. It’s odd when you think about it. We praise “polished” games but jump through marketing hoops to play an unfinished one. Personally, I think it’s the industry’s insane demand for the new, New, NEW that drives us to consume that NEW thing even through it’s not actually complete. But that’s a discussion for another blog. For now, I’m more interested in what happens when this marketing train flies off the tracks.

This year we’ve had four major betas: Gears of War 3, Uncharted 3, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, and Battlefield 3, the latter of which has become a cautionary tale of how not to do a beta.

by Jorge Albor

27 Oct 2011


Did you see the recent Harrison Ford advertisement? (And if you haven’t, you can check it out below.). Apparently Indiana Jones loves Uncharted 3. Dr. Henry Jones is retired of course (and who wouldn’t after that whole crystal skull fiasco?), but surely his opinion is still valid. After all, Jones is a cultural icon, a swashbuckling hero that we all admire, a perfect representative of what the medium stands for. Yet finding our games media spokesperson is not so easy. Just last week, my PopMatters compatriot Scott Juster wrote about a subway commercial that offers a different perspective on video games. G. Christopher Williams also wrote about a television commercial for the PS3 with its own reflection on games and gamers. This selection of divergent and even contradictory advertisements reflects the inconsistent place that games still hold within popular culture.

Although Sony’s latest pitch for Uncharted 3 was targeted towards Japanese consumers, the Western press picked it up and gamers responded positively to video of Harrison Ford playing Naughty Dog’s forthcoming title. Even though we all know that Ford is a paid actor, his reactions to the game appear both genuine and charming. Considering his age, it feels a bit like watching your grandpa play a video game and finding that he actually likes it. His face contorts during action scenes, and he seems genuinely strained when fighting off enemies. Ford even recognizes the artificial situation and still appears to thoroughly enjoy the experience of playing Uncharted 3. “If there wasn’t a bunch of people around it would be even more exciting,” he says.

by G. Christopher Williams

26 Oct 2011


Returning to a bloodstain, a virtual scar marking the world of Dark Souls is a common enough occurrence.  The game’s box announces to the player, “Prepare to Die!”, after all.

Dying is an essential experience in Dark Souls, as it seemingly is in most video games, where an understanding of extra lives and of health bars are an essential part of living in virtual worlds.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

'Cube Escape' Is Free, Frustrating, and Weirdly Compelling

// Moving Pixels

"The Cube Escape games are awful puzzle games, but they're an addicting descent into madness.

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